Up Next 2023: The UK is in a national ‘laughter deficit’ as Sky reveals nearly half of Brits can’t remember the last time they laughed

Tuesday 7 February 2023

In new research released today by Sky, 42 percent of Brits admitted that they cannot remember the last time they laughed out loud, as well as 32 percent of those surveyed believing they haven’t as much as giggled in the last month.

With 69 percent of us feeling there is a lot less to laugh about these days, Sky has added an incredible line-up of new shows and returning favourites to its stellar TV and film slate for 2023. Featuring gripping comedy dramas including new series Mr Bigstuff starring Danny Dyer, and the fifth season of hit comedy show Brassic, alongside much-loved classics such as Will and Grace and Modern Family, Sky provides the perfect remedy for our dreary moods.

Sadly, according to the findings by Sky, the average Brit laughs just three times a week, nearly one in five (17 percent) think it’s been at least a couple of months and 89 percent of us say that we wished we chortled more often. In fact, one in twenty (5 percent) genuinely can’t remember getting the giggles in the past twelve months. But there is hope for the nation – 95 percent of Brits believe that a good belly laugh is great for your mental health.

The research found that many are turning to their TV to cheer themselves up, with 31 percent watching bloopers from their favourite shows or watching reruns of the likes of Only Fools and Horses (24 percent). Looking at the genres that keep us laughing, comedy movies (45 percent) and comedy TV series (44 percent) are top, followed by sitcoms (42 percent), comedy drama (38 percent) and stand-up (38 percent) and Sky has always made sure its slate is filled with exactly that through its widespread comedic talent and outstanding original entertainment programmes such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks, A League of Their Own plus Rob & Romesh Vs.

Things are no different in 2023 with more side-splitting productions across the board. Curated to help lift the mood of the nation, Sky’s 2023 slate will feature new titles such as Dreamland – a Sky Original comedy exploring multi-generational female relationships and their dysfunctional family dynamics in sunny (!) Margate - and a not-so-typical rom-com, Smothered, surrounding a tale of two worlds colliding where romance blossoms but the pressures of modern dating linger.

This year's entertainment roster includes On Demand (w/t), a new comedy show to test your cultural knowledge hosted by Alison Hammond, Josh Widdicombe and Rob Beckett, and the return of Rob & Romesh Vs is back for its fifth season. Fans can follow football legends Gary Neville, Roy Keane, and Jamie Carragher on their live arena tour in Gary Neville’s The Overlap on Tour and Jamie Redknapp, Romesh Ranganathan, and Micah Richards return in A League of Their Own: Roadtrip along with an array of celebrity guests including Mo Gilligan, Big Zuu and Alan Carr.

Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content, Sky UK and Ireland commented: “Considering the ups and downs of the last few years it’s no wonder the nation is in need of more than a little bit of light relief.The research shows we’re all craving more laughter and our 2023 slate at Sky aims to remedy exactly that. From new original comedy and entertainment series, such as Gary Neville’s The Overlap on Tour and Rob & Romesh Vs, to stand-up specials and the best laugh-out-loud shows from the US, our amazing roster of comedic talent ensures we’ve got something for everyone at Sky this year.”

To help get the nation laughing again, Sky has unveiled its collection of new content coming to screens in 2023, bolstering the array of outstanding comedies already available, from Katherine Ryan: Missus and The Conners to Young Rock. The latest additions in this year’s line-up include:

  • Smothered - a not-so-typical rom-com, which sees two worlds colliding, where romance blossoms but the pressures of modern dating linger. Starring Danielle Vitalis and Jon Pointing
  • Mr Bigstuff – exploring broken families, fragile masculinity, and carpet sales. It tells the story of two estranged brothers; Glen (Sampson) a nervy perfectionist striving to live the suburban ideal and Lee (Dyer) an alpha male with a prescription drug addiction and a biscuit tin full of his Dad’s ashes.
  • Dreamland – Set in the sun-drenched British seaside town of Margate, this comedy-drama is all about secrets, lies, loves and aspirations within a family of four sisters.,
  • Brassic (S5) – Reeling from the dramatic events of the series 4 finale, Vinnie, and the gang face big repercussions from their entanglements with the dangerous McDonagh brothers and powerful drug buyer Manolito.
  • Gary Neville’s The Overlap on Tour – Follow footballing legends Gary Neville, Roy Keane, and Jamie Carragher on a road trip like no other as they travel to different cities in the British Isles as part of The Overlap Live Arena Tour

The research also found that laughter is contagious too, with 60 percent agreeing and 80 percent admitting to laughing if everyone else is, even if they have no idea what they are laughing about. Over half (55 percent) of Brits also admit to laughing at a joke, even if they don’t understand the punchline!

And when it comes to what we use to make other people laugh, sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit but it’s also the most common with 58 percent of Brits saying they wield it as a joke. Banter was second with 46 percent and dark humour (36 percent) was in third.

The top ten “giggle-triggers” that have modern Brits laughing are:

  1. Being sent a genuinely funny meme(36%)
  2. Being in a serious situation when you’re not meant to laugh (35%)
  3. Watching your kids be funny(32%)
  4. Watching bloopers/outtakes of your favourite TV show (31%)
  5. Someone with an infectious laugh (30%)
  6. The sound of a baby laughing uncontrollably (30%)
  7. A hilarious dog/cat reel (26%)
  8. Watching reruns of Only Fools and Horses (24%)
  9. When someone sends a hilarious gif on the WhatsApp group (21%)
  10. My partner’s jokes (21%)

This research is unveiled as Sky has announced a raft of original and exclusive TV shows and films coming to screens in 2023, offering customers more value and choice than ever before. Check out what’s coming Up Next on Sky in 2023 here.

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